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Hagel 14, Washington 12, Mccain 11, Us 9, Benghazi 8, Chuck Hagel 7, Boehner 5, United States 4, John Mccain 4, Legalzoom 4, Gabby Giffords 3, Obama 3, Vietnam 3, Mark Kelly 3, Russia 2, California 2, Israel 2, Bowles 2, Carly 2, Nbc News 2,
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  MSNBC    Meet the Press    News/Business. A moderator  
   interviews a leading public figure. (CC)  

    February 17, 2013
    11:00 - 12:00pm PST  

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>> the wows and congressional republicans are now at odds on two fronts. the battle over the nomination of chuck hagel for defense secretary. it's been delayed another week, that vote. the $85 billion of automatic spending cuts which is scheduled to take effect in two weeks time. we have it covered this morning. we start with a view from the white house. in washington the job of the white house chief of staff is known as the most powerful post in town. there is a new man occupying that seat of power and he is here with us this morning on "meet the press." his first appearance. who is he? how did he get here? denis mcdonough grew up one of 11 kids in a small town. he was a high school football star. he worked in the house for congressman lee hamilton and in the senate for majority leader tom daschle and later for barack obama. when the freshman senator decided to make a run for the white house in 2008 he tapped mcdonough to be his foreign policy adviser for the campaign and once president, obama appointed him.
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the president noted when he announced him as his pick, mcdonough has been involved in every major foreign policy decision including the call to get osama bin laden. >> i thought dennis likes to pull all-nighters. the truth is nobody outworks denis mcdonough. >> here he is. mr. mcdonough, welcome to "meet the press." >> thanks for having me. >> this is a tough job. you are the fourth one to have it. what is your key part of your goal for this job. as the president has a narrow window. how do you approach it? >> my approach is focus on something that jim baker told me the other day. reach out to several of the other chiefs of staff. he said as long as you're focused and not on chief, you're going to be okay. i got to tell you i'm working with a staff that is excellent. i'm really honored to be part of it.
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i'm honored that the president has laid this responsibility on me and i look forward to doing it. >> i was mentioning before we went on the hit. the asteroid that came near the united states is stuff you have to talk about. >> it is tough that we have to talk about and do talk about and we have had a lot of back and forth over the last several days. the fact is that we're going to keep working on this and everything else to make sure that we are on top of it. >> let's talk about the agenda items. chuck hagel's nomination is held up. the expectation is he'll ultimately be confirmed but bill cohen said something this week to politico that caught my attention that does underline the problems that hagel could have as defense secretary. he said it's going to put him in a difficult position once he gets there. those resentments will weigh around. i think it's tragic what is happening and i think it's shameful. if he is confirmed, is' weaker defense secretary and is that something that weighs on the president's mind? >> no, he is not going to be a weaker defense secretary. he will be a great defense secretary.
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he volunteered to go to vietnam. heavily decorated when he was there. well performing when he was there. the last four years as the president chairman of the president intelligence advisory board in the senate where he is a leading republican senator. he is always done the hard work and made it look easy and exactly what he did. how is he going to work with republicans, john mccain who will be coming up in a couple of minutes saying frankly republicans don't like him. it's personal. >> i had an opportunity to talk to senator mccain about this. several other republicans are uncomfortable how this has played out and why i think senator mccain and others say they intend to vote to end this filibuster as soon as they get back from the recess. i think senator mccain and others know we have to work together to get this thing done, because when it comes a national defense, national security, that at least has to be above politics. i hate to see this being played politics here in washington.
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>> is there anything else that was not disclosed, anything that hurts his reputation, his views about israel? anything? >> no. >> nothing to worry about at all? >> no. >> what about ben ghazi and the attack? they said they want to get additional information about what the president about the night of the attack. some of the advice he was given and talking points and what not. has the president finished on the benghazi matter or anything else he has concluded should have been done that was not done? >> just the other day our council sent an extensive letter to capitol hill in response to a series of questions on benghazi. that is the latest on 20 briefings and hearings that we participated in. 10,000 pages of documents we provided. but here is the question, david. the president is not done with benghazi because here is why. he is demanded of us since that night to find out exactly what happened and then to make every reform needed to ensure it does not happen again. the president of the united states sends these diplomats our military overseas to these tough
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spots and not send them and have them be exposed and making certain that we are doing everything we can to ensure this doesn't happen again. >> the reality is the debt is a huge issue that the president faces. this is the fact about it. when he came into office, the debt was 10.6 trillion and now it's 16.5 trillion. we need to separate the debt from when we talk about the deficit automatic spending cuts happen in a couple of weeks. it was very interesting. speaker boehner said to a group of us before the president's state of the union address, the president simply doesn't have the guts to take on spending, doesn't have the courage to take on liberals in his own party. it's gotten that bad. >> you know, talk about what the president found when he came to the office. what has happened since then? 35 straight months of job growth and 6.1 million new private sector jobs. we are seeing the housing market starting to heal and seeing the stock market come back and
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seeing consumer confidence strengthen and that is what we should be focused on. this isn't a spending fight for us. this is a fight whether we will make the investments in middle class families in this country in education, in science and technology and food inspections and those kinds of things. >> what government is actually capable of doing? i mean, you talk about the economy and jobs. there is, obviously, debate how many jobs have been created in the economy. look. you pointed out to apple tim cook in the audience in the state of the union and sitting on over $171 million in cash at apple. why? because uncertainty in the marketplace. tom friedman writing this morning something that caught my eye. he said you can feel the economy wants to launch but washington is sitting on the national mute button. we the people feel like the children of permanently divorcing parents. >> how does this sequester business end? the president said during the campaign the sequester, the word for automatic spending cuts, he said it would not happen. is it going to happen? >> i always read tom friedman has the good minnesota sensibility.
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the column today i think is continuation of that. frankly i believe a continuation of exactly the plan the president laid out in detail in the state of the union on tuesday night. we have already made 2.5 trillion dollars in deficit reduction efforts. we are going to -- we're ready as the president said in a very detailed way to make another trillion and a half. provided we can work with our friends in congress. how are we going to do that? one through the lens of how we invest in the middle class families and, two, work together and three, why the president in a plan he laid out, david, was very clear that he'll take on some things that are not popular with our party and i want ask the republicans to do the same thing. >> is a sequester going to happen? >> i sure hope it doesn't. >> wait. the president said during the campaign it's not going to happen. no uncertainty there. >> that's exactly why he laid out a very reasonable plan to ensure that it doesn't. >> right. but republicans say we are done with revenue, yet the president is saying we need more revenue.
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senate democrats are calling for new tax hikes and spending cuts. boehner says i'm not going to negotiate with the white house any more. let them come to us with a plan. is the president going to have to get involved in the final hours like before? >> the president is not only -- has been involved right from the beginning on this. the question isn't whether we're going to insist on some position because that is the right position. we will insist on doing this in a balanced way. why does it have to be balanced? because that is how we will ensure economic growth continues and job creation we have seen the last 35 months continue. that's why it doesn't make sense for us to take a cleaver to the kinds of investments that happen if the sequester comes and do it in a balanced way like over the last year. >> will he do something to stop this from the auto cuts from happening? >> he will continue to make reasonable and balanced proposals as he has time and time again, david. we look forward to working with our republican friends in the
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house and senate to make sure is didn't happen. >> here is the relate about -- reality about medicare. if you're an average earning couple you make about $44,000 a year. say you retired in 2010. these are facts i think a lot of people don't know about. you paid in 122,000 in medicare taxes but you're drawing almost 400,000 in benefits received. this is why medicare is going broke and that ratio is only getting worse. yet, the president seems to be saying, well, let's make modest reforms when it comes to entitlement programs like medicare. simpson and bowles say you have to do more than that. boehner saying we have to raise the retirement age and find a way to change cpi and gradual decrease benefits. why is the president not prepared to do those things today to get a deal to avoid the sequester and to take on medicare solventsy? >> the question that is driving
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long-term debt, no question about it is rising health care costs and why the president did the affordable care act and seeing the impact of that now. the president laid out in very -- very concise detail on tuesday night to the senate and to the country exactly what he is willing to do on medicare. the fact is, david, you just mentioned simpson-bowles. we get the same savings from our medicare reforms as simpson and bowles do in their plan. do we do it the same way? no but get the exact amount of savings in medicare as they do. we have made clear -- >> the question with the retirement age that is is not a cost reducer but a cost shifter and takes the exploding costs and shifts them to our seniors. we are not going to do that. what we are going to do is the kinds of common sense reforms the president laid out. reducing the kind of subsidies to prescription drugs company and making sure wealthier
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seniors do more for their parts and we will continue to do those things and that is the plan the president laid out. i hope that the speaker and others will come to the table with similar common sense approaches so that we can do in this a way that helps middle class families in this country. >> news about immigration. the president wants comprehensive immigration reform. there is a group doing that. the "usa today" has a story elite story about a draft white house immigration bill offers a path to residency. it would allow illegal immigrants to become legal residents within eight years and bill is developed as both members of chambers of congress -- it says rubio's key in this is obama's bill repeats the failures of past legislation and dead on arrival in congress. has the president concluded it's time for him to drive this reform and would that not kill what is already put together on
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capitol hill? >> i think you saw congressman ryan and many others comment and even president bush's former speech writer comment favorably on the president's speech on tuesday night. that approach we are taking to immigration reform. let's strengthen our borders and make sure there is an earned path to citizenship provided people who earn it learn their english and make sure the legal immigration system is a reasonable opportunity for people so that they don't get kicked out of the system by others. we're going to continue to do that. the fact of this report, david, i think all it says to me is that we are doing exactly what we said we would do which is we will be prepared in the event that the bipartisan talks going on the hill which, by the way, were aggressively supporting. if those do not work out then we will have an option that is ready to put out there as the president said in las vegas. >> would the president support something that is more conservative, more stringent than his principles?
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would he support it with the overall goal of getting a comprehensive bill? >> i will not say what we will or won't support in our abstracts. we want to continue building on the great strides on border security. we want to make we are track cracking down on businesses. an earned path to citizenship and want the legal system which is frankly too cumbersome. we will continue to push that. >> we will talk to kelly on that. when the president said that gabrielle giffords deserves a vote was it not a recognition when it comes to a magazine band that politicly that may be out of reach but he'd at least like to see a vote? >> no a recognition the president has put out there with the vice president's help. a very comprehensive on gun control. it includes the issues you addressed and universal background checks and investment to make our schools safer and investments in mental health.
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we will approach on all of these things. you're absolutely right. congress should vote on each of these proposals. whether the votes are there is going to be something that we will see but we are not going to wait and see. we are working aggressively across the country. the president and vice president himself. >> before you go i know you have been a religious adviser of sorts. you're a devout catholic as the pope is preparing to abdicate. what is your analysis on what the church needs in his successor? >> i'm not going to try to get into church politics but what i do know is the church has been universally but here in the united states a critical part of this society and help our educational system. it helped me, frankly. as long as the church continues doing what it has done over the course of the many years by advocating investments in people and an opportunity in education for example then i think we will be just fine. >> big question for you.
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have you stopped biking to work now that you're chief of staff? >> i have. >> that is the president's order? >> yes. >> have to listen to the boss? >> i do. >> up next on this program, the man leading the charge against haig hagel. senator john mccain try to get straight talk on what is ahead for hagel. plus our round table looks at what is at stake in the hagel fight and the obama agenda as the president squares off against an eturnally divided gop. we will hear from republican strategist and many more and the lieutenant governor of california all coming up next. ♪ ♪ [ multiple sounds making melodic tune ]
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>> talk to senator mccain in a moment i want to begin with our roundtable, joining me here, alex castellanos, lieutenant governor of california and author of the new book "citizenville," gavin newsom, former chair and you ceo of hewlett-packard, carly fiorina and our own, msnbc's' chris
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matthews. chris you let me start with you. we heard from mcdonough on hagel, not going to be a weaker secretary of defense when all of this is done. how does play out and what is the last thing he said? >> he is going to have to prove himself. starting with a lot of criticism. he will start with a lot of the republicans voting against him, maybe a few for him tend. he has to prove himself. he has not been a strong nominee in his performance there are questions about him which are legitimate, i think he may benefit from the fact that i think senator cruz went overboard the past week with the innuendos, things like that guilt by associations, i think the senate will react to that the senate has a lot of pride in the institution, you heard from some, you heard from senator graham, almost like we are looking back on advise and consent again, certain rules the quorum, pre tremendous pride in the institution, he may benefit from that, in other words, ironically tough treatment may help him. >> alex castellanos, how do you see it? >> a lot of republicans initially only concerned that
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senator hagel had such a change of heart over the years on policy moved left even further of obama on some things and also worried about his character, he turned on his own party and i think quite intensely, now worried about confidence. if he can't hand al room full of senators, folks very worried hour can this high guy handle the defense department in such a trying to time? he has unified the opposition against him and this plays in washington but doesn't play much outside of washington. i think republicans feel they have got carte blanche to obstruct here. >> we will get more from the round table in just a bit. let me bring in senator mccain in phoenix. welcome back to the program. always good to have you. >> thank you. >> so at a time when congress is in such low esteem, you seem to candidly offer the reason why hagel is facing such trouble, you spoke to fox news on thursday around this is what you
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said >> as far as secretary of defense is concerned, to be honest with you, neil, it goes took there's a lot of ill will toward senator hagel because when he was a republican, he attacked president bush mercilessly. at one point, said he was the worst president since herbert hoover, said that the surge was the worst blunder since the vietnam war, which is nonsense. and was very anti- his own party and people. people don't forget that you can disagree, but if you're disagreeable, then people don't forget that. >> so is that to say senator, that it's pay back time for chuck hagel? that's what this process has amounted to? >> of course not. most of those senators who will be voting weren't in the senate when mr. hagel did those things. he's a friend of mine. and that is a part of it the major part is the "washington post" editorialized he is to the left of president obama.
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he has been taken -- by the way, i believe mr. gibbs who i don't often agree with, said he was the most unprepared and unimpressive nominee that he had ever seen. certainly the most unimpressive that i've ever seen. it really is -- 99% of it is to do with the positions that senator hagel has taken, whether it be votes against sanctions against iran, whether it be his belief that the surge would be the worst thing since the vietnam war and the positions that he has taken on various issues is, frankly, been out of -- not only out of the mainstream but far to the left. >> you asked -- were asked about his qualifications which is now an issue. you said he is not qualified to be secretary of defense. you came a long way, senator mccain. in 2000, you were running for president in your stomping grounds of new hampshire. here is what you said. >> secretary of defense, there's a lot of people that could do
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that one of them, i think, is senator chuck hagel. >> what's changed? >> that was the time and chuck hagel's positions which has put him from the mainstream right of center republican, which he was representing the state of nebraska, to what the "washington post" has described in their editorial as to the left of president obama. and the fact is that chuck hagel made statements and took votes in the united states senate, particularly vis-a-vis iran. his comments about israel were atrocious. but he will be confirmed. let me just point out that they -- we delayed bolten to the point that he never got a vote. the word was no nomination without information. they tried to filibuster justice alito. the worst thing i have seen in my life was the crucifixion of john tower, where they delayed for three months and they destroyed a good and decent man
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what they were saying reported out by tuesday, they wanted a vote on thursday. we had -- i thought we had an agreement, just to wait a week so the remaining questions would be answered. but i understand the white house wanted a vote. they got a vote. and we will have a vote when we get back and i'm confident that senator hagel will probably have the votes necessary to be confirmed as the secretary of defense. we have an obligation of advice and consent. i don't intent to give those up when other senators continue to have reasonable questions, and i mean reasonable. >> but you're not a yes vote for your old friend? >> no. i don't believe he is qualified. but i don't believe that we should hold up his nomination any further because i think it's a reasonable amount of time to have questions answered. not two days' worth. >> it's striking though, senator, because some members are saying, look, we need more time to look at his speeches to see if he really is anti-israel.
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others say we are using this moment of leverage to get more information about benghazi about what the president said who he called the night of the attack or getting some of the e-mails about who changed the talking points. the president said this week on the issue of benghazi, you guys are running out of things to ask about. let me ask you, here at the end of the day on benghazi, if the worst thing is true, what is that truth about how the president handled this crisis? >> i don't know the answer to that question. i do know that there's so many answers we don't know. for example, what did the president do the night of the attack. we know him with the secretary of defense and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, another issue and you never talked to them again. we know that the secretary of state, who said she was clear, i never saw the warnings about the fact that the consulate could not withstand an attack. why was that? we don't even still know five different versions of who put together the talking points. we want to know why the president alleged to mitt romney in the debate that he had called it a terrorist attack when he hadn't, an interview that very
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night of september 12th said he didn't know what it was and for two weeks later kept saying he didn't know what kind of attack it was and in testimony, the secretary of defense and chief of staff -- chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said they both knew that night there are so many questions about benghazi. we have had two movies about getting bin laden and we don't even know who the people were who were evacuated from the consulate the next day after the attack. so, there are many, many questions. we have had a massive coverup -- >> susan rice says there was a lot of confusion. [ overlapping speakers ] >> i'm asking you, do you -- i'm asking you do you care whether four americans died? the reasons for that? and shouldn't people be held accountable for the fact four americans died. >> you said there is a coverup. a coverup of what? a coverup of what?
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>> of the information of it -- concerning the deaths of four brave americans, the information has not been forthcoming. you can obviously believe that it has. i know that it hasn't and the i will be glad to send you a list of the questions that have not been answered, including what did the president do and who did he talk to the night of the attack on benghazi and why was it, why was it that we -- that the people who were evacuated from the -- from the consulate the next day were not interviewed the next day and then they would have known that it was not a spontaneous demonstration. why did the president, for two week, for two weeks during the heat of the campaign, continue to say he didn't know whether it was a terrorist attack or not? is it because it interfered with the line of al qaeda is decimated and everything's fine in that part of the world? maybe. we don't know. but we need the answers. then we will reach conclusions, but we have not received the
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answers and that's fact. >> senator, a couple quick areas before i let you go. on the sequester, you have said last week the republicans should be open to additional tax revenues. is that what it's going to take here to avoid these massive cuts? >> i said i would be glad to close some loopholes about these kind of subsidies that are outrageous and disgraceful. i have said it is time for the president who said sequester won't happen, maybe sit down with some republicans, talk to them about this issue so that maybe we can get it -- get resolved. i didn't say sequester won't happen. i went around the country warning about what would happen with sequester. now we have the army chiefs of staff who is saying he can't send replacements to afghanistan because he can't train them well enough to serve. republicans deserve blame. i'll take some blame for it. but the president of the united states is supposed to lead. why doesn't he call people over, sit down and prevent the sequestration from happening rather than -- and fulfill the
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comment that he made during the campaign that sequester "won't happen"? >> the president obviously has some thought bus immigration -- some thoughts about immigration reform which he has drafted and gotten his agencies to comment on. if the president proposes legislation, do you think it will fail? >> of course. of course it will. and that's why we are working together, republicans and democrats. by the way he has had no communications with republicans on the issue, unlike the previous four presidents that i have dealt with. i believe we are making progress on a bipartisan basis, i believe we can come up with a product. leaks don't happen in washington by accident. this raises the question that many of us continue to worry about. does the president want a result or another cudgel to beat up republicans to get political advantage in the next election?
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>> finally, senator, we are going to talk to mark kelly any moment, gabby giffords' husband, of course. are you prepared at lease to support universal background checks that's all that comes out of this. would you be prepared to support that? >> there is some senators, bipartisan, again, senator coburn and senator manchin and some other who are working on a package that i think of us will be able to support and i applaud their efforts. obviously, we want to do everything we can to prevent guns from falling into the hands of people who are mentally unbalanced or criminals. >> all right. senator, i know it was your mom's birthday, roberta turned 101 years old. god bless her. you come from go and feisty genes. we saw it here this morning. thank you as always. >> thank you again, david. >> okay. we are back now with our roundtable and lieutenant governor newsome, welcome. good to have you. >> yeah. >> so, from hagel to the obama agenda, reaction to what you heard? >> i think senator mccain, extraordinary respect, summed up
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the dysfunction of washington. you asked the question if he led the president of the united states on immigration, would that be acceptable? he said absolutely not. the previous statement he said he needs to lead in terms of sequestration. you have to have two parties in a negotiation and willingness for both parties to reach an agreement. that is self-evident the president recognizes working with this congress is difficult. that said, the idea that hagel is not qualified is rather offensive. you noted the 2000 speech of senator mccain but in 2006, this same senator mccain said he was qualified to be secretary of state. he disagrees with him. it does seem to me more and more, a personal grudge match. he did not get the support in his 2008 campaign of his friend, senator hagel. he went on a trip during that campaign with senator obama. it just reinforces the disconnect between what's happening here in washington, d.c. and the rest of the world. >> you also got, carly fiorina, the fact the president is up against a republican party with a lot of different divisions here.
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you know, senator mccain took on senator cruz this weeks, went after hagel, here is what harry reid said, the majority out of leader in the senate, what about this who filibuster process. >> i guess to be able to run for senate as a republican most place of the country, you need to have a resume that says i helped filibuster one of the president's nominees. >> what about it? >> first, i have to respectfully disagree with the lieutenant governor because he left out a couple of key facts. key fact number one, the sequester was created by the obama administration. so people are frustrated because you have a set of politicians on both sides unwilling to deal with something they created because it was a way for them to kick the can down the road. secondly, with regard to the hagel nomination, unfortunately, chuck hagel is dealing with his own poor performance as a nominee now. all the way back to your original question. there are many people in the democratic party who don't agree
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either there are many people in the democratic party who are in disagreement right now on what too do about gun control legislation. on the issue of immigration specifically, i think the reason john mccain answered the way he did is because eight senators, four democrats and four republicans, have come together and put together a delicately balanced compromise that will pass. what will fail is either the right in congress or president obama in the white house try and push it too far one way or another to win points. then it's gonna come crashing down. that's, i think what john mccain meant. >> how does the president deal with the republican party he is now dealing with? >> i don't know. i think a lot -- everything here makes sense what we are talking about, because we are being reasonable here. we want to have an immigration bill. i think that's -- everybody wants one in this country. we know we have had 11 million people come in the country illegally, we know we would like something to be done compassionately toward them. we are not going to throw them out, that's ridiculous, yet we want to stop illegal immigration.
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so is business really on board here to stop illegal immigration? are the democrats really on board to stop illegal immigration? are the republicans? i think they have got together, republicans are very good at teeth, being the tough guy. democrats are good at being the good cop. they can work together. the democrats can do the path to citizenship, the republicans can do the enforcement and they can agree we are going to put this together because if we don't, they may pass a bill, a joke, like simpson mazzoli, the idea was to pass a good immigration of law, not just a reform, something that actually works, people actually come into the border on a regular basis short term or long term because they come here to work and our government controls that because every government should control their own border. and we don't have that today. i don't hear either side saying this is comprehensive. love that word, comprehensive and takes both parties to do it. >> the question of whether democrats want the issue on
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immigration they do want success. you look at what the president is doing, appealing to various groups in his coalition, wants to lock these folks in, a president thinking about the long-term prospect of the democratic party and he also knows republicans need a deal on it. >> i think he is maybe thinking about the long term but he is also thinking about two years from now and taking you the house and going back to the first two years of his administration when he could run the table and push through anything he wants, his last shot at legacy. so keeping republicans polarized on immigration not bad political strategy for him. what i think you're going to see republicans do is federal government's job is to enforce the border. we have got to move somewhere else. talk radio has given republicans room to move on immigration but right now, immigrants have no economic value in the american system. they have political value to democrats. if you let governors and states and municipalities compete for immigrants, if they have a larger voice saying, hey we need hard-working people here in the state to grow our food, take care of our kids, need bright college graduates to stay and let arizona compete against mississippi, business won't go
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to arizona, they will go to where the workers are the brains are you will see a more bottom up approach, i hope from both parties, and when we get there, then i think we will begin to address. >> gavin and carly both can address, this the broader agenda behind immigration you one of the things i heard from the president on state of the union, i want to get the sound byte ready, he talks about government saying to presidents i not only won the election but win debate on this is what he said. >> it is not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth. that's what we should be looking for. >> he said just tackling the debt now is not going to grow the economy. >> it's a great sound byte you just played and absolutely
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everyone can agree with it. the question is so what. what do we do about it? >> that's the argument. >> that is the argument. it is also a fact that when debt and deficit continue to grow government has less and less room to invest. that's why you are having so much trouble dealing with the sequester which just factually is $110 billion a year which is .3% of our annual federal spending. and yet, people are consumed with angst about where to you cut -- >> crowding out when we have 2% interest rates now? we could be doing really good infrastructure, people buy cars, when interest rates are down, buy a house, interest rates are down a good time for public investment. >> and? >> we should do it. >> i don't even disagree with that. >> not crowding you it. >> but, but, this economy is growing at 2% or less. in other words, the american economy is not performing to its full potential.
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we should be growing at 3% to 4%. we should be creating more jobs. we shouldn't have 7.8% unemployment. >> all this strikes a chord with me because it comes down to the lack of leadership, period. we have leaders that aren't leading. they are quarrelling. alex said something profound and significant, he is right but it is a depressing point you made. this notion that somehow we have to get permission because talk show hosts are saying, well, now it's okay. it is suggestive of the world we are living in and sequestration is going to make certain we go over this cliff, man-made cliff. >> politician-made cliff. >> remember, this was not obama coming one sequestration you it was obama being forced into a corner by republican on a completely fraudulent notion of the debt ceiling and his reaction to that. in order to move us forward. >> i'm following stipulate both parties played -- >> i'm time for us to lean in again and hold these guys up to a higher level of expectation. you want to move the mouse we have to move the cheese. we have to change incentives in this country for good behavior, not the kind we are seeing. >> republicans have been shocked by the president's inaugural
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address and his state of the union to an extent i have not seen before. the one thing, we are looking bipartisan consensus, the left and the right agreed the president gave two very left of right liberal speeches. you know, we have all been wondering what washington was going to do with all this extra money they have lying around. the president explained it, he is going to spend it on growing government. his contention in both the speeches was government has not been doing enough it. needs to be more. that is not the republican view. that's declaration of war on the republican view. that's not a -- there is no middle ground where republicans and democrats can get together. >> and to that point, chris, the president said i'm not going to spend a dime that teased -- outs the deficit. he is talking about does not make the deficit go down either. >> i think we are all agreeing here, the president's priority now growth, not debt reduction.
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disagrees with the republican. >> i don't think it is job creation economic. >> i think he has another priority. i don't think it's growth. i think this president's priorities social justice. i think he sees himself as an inheritor of lincoln and martin luther king and he is going to -- this president wants to flatten the american economy. he wants those people at the top to bring them down. >> you're calling you the -- >> no social justice. and i say -- and by the way, a noble cause. >> this weekend, three big businesses. >> there is a -- >> here is political question. does the president -- boehner this week said i'm not negotiating with him anymore. we are not going after any grand bargain here. freedman suggested that the president would like to get through the next couple of years and try to get the house to flip again and try to jam some things through rather than dealing with republicans he doesn't think are
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honest brokers. >> he hasn't had the opportunity. the proof's in the pudding, right? he hasn't been able to work with the congress last year, i don't have any great expectations, particularly 2014 on the horizon, had the agenda hijacked by the reality of 2014 and sharp elbows of the tea party and folks like cruz and others holding the line. talk about this notion of cruise control and republicans completely mesmerized by inability or the incapacity to move his own agenda because of his concern about being primary. so the president is right to go around. it's sad but true around congress. did it on the payroll tax depate and won and the student loan rates and won. certainly did it with the bush tax cuts to the extent he can, a populist agenda supported by a vast majority of the american people and now he has something to go out and campaign on and ultimately principled poll sites
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to hopefully guven on. >> i want to go back, chris, you were tough on ted cruz this week, as were some democrats who said this was mccarthyism. echo the mccarthy innuendo e >> not on this program but this week, it's about tactics. i don't know the man's personality. i know he has an interesting background, a brilliant gay in many ways, but the tactics. you know, i watched him in those hearings a, i saw joe mccarthy, the way he was prosecuting the care the way he was putting up evidence, innuendo, guilt by association i some spokesperson, flack for the ministry of foreign affairs in tehran says he thinks we can do business with this guy mr. than some hawkish neocon is than indictment against him? it turn news an indictment. >> david -- >> i think it is really unfair and i think the senate is going to circle the wagons and say this guy is -- >> quick response, carly. and then we have to go >> i have to say, talking about leadership this is a president who is not afraid use his power, he is not afraid to issue executive orders when he sees fit i find it stunning, truly, that this president and the democratic party continues to lay all the blame for their failure to achieve anything at the feet of the tea party or ted cruz or whoever the latest villain is the truth is this man is the president of the united states. he could get immigration reform, as one example, tomorrow if he
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would step forward and say, i applaud and salute the gang of eight's proposal. let's move forward. >> did that in the state of the union. let me -- >> that's not true, by the way you under our constitution. you can use 60 votes to stop, require 60 vote -- it would pass. that bill would pass. that bill would pass. >> really become an undemocratic system with the way boehner's am had to play this. >> all the republican's fault in your view, clearly. >> lets leave it there. i got to get a break. gavin, your book talks about how local government can be more effective today. and it is a very interesting read. thank you all very much. when we come back here, nbc news's week-long look at gun violence continues, actual calling it flashpoint guns in america, i'll be back with a live and new interview with a leading voice of this debate, retired space shuttle commander and husband of former congresswoman gabby giffords, mark kelly and take full advantage of the captain being here as well, experience with an astronaut.
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ask him about that unexpected cosmic moment captured on tape for the whole world to witness. what was that? and is more coming? more "meet the press" after this. i know what you're thinking... transit fares! as in the 37 billion transit fares we help collect each year. no? oh, right. you're thinking of the 1.6 million daily customer care interactions xerox handles. or the 900 million health insurance claims we process. so, it's no surprise to you that companies depend on today's xerox for services that simplify how work gets done. which is...pretty much what we've always stood for. with xerox, you're ready for real business.
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we are back, joining me we are back, joining me now, mark kelly, husband of former congressman gabby giffords and the co-founder of americans for responsible solutions. captain kelly, it's good to finally have you here. we have been trying to and finally got you on "meet the press." welcome. >> thank you, david u >> this was an emotional moment this
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week during the state of the union address i have covered a bunch of. you don't often see the kind of energy and emotion around the issue of guns as we now see them. this was the moment, the president was talking about the violence in chicago and other victims around the country as he called for a vote. this is what he said. >> hadiya's parents, nate and cleo, are in the chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. they deserve a vote. they deserve a vote. they deserve a vote. gabby giffords deserves a vote. the families of newtown deserve a vote. the families of aurora deserve a vote. >> talk about that moment. gabby obviously has been back in the chamber on numerous occasion but this was emotion. >> certainly the point of the speech there was the most energy in the chamber, not only from
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the gallery but the floor as well. i think that resonates throughout the country. i think people are demanding that something be done about this gun violence. we can't continue and do nothing when we have 20 first graders die in their classrooms. >> you have an incredible amount of moment tim. -- momentum. mike bloomberg, mayor bloomberg, on of the said gabby giffords getting shot doesn't do it if aurora doesn't do it, children being massacred in newtown, nothing is going to cause the needle to move and yet you're getting well aquantitied with the tough politics on this issue you even on the democratic side. you have got democrats up for re-election and red states next year who respect about to vote for an assault weapons ban or magazine ban. so what's possible tend of the day? >> it is a tough issue. you heard senator mccain, who was on earlier, talk about universal background checks and how about how a bill that he
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could potentially support there is momentum. it's really clear that we need to do something and pass the universal background check. you know, since 1999, 1.7 million criminals have failed a background check. the problem is they can do down the street and buy a gun from a gun show and that is called the gun show loophole. we need to close that loophole and americans are demanding we do something. >> you have a dynamic that is changing. you are raising private money. you are putting ads on the air like what we debuted this week with you and gabby talking about the issue, highlighting the emotional pain and the sacrifice but also as she says in the ad it is time for action, time to do something. you're up against groups like the national rifle association. what is your group and others prepared to do politically to tip the scales? >> the nra has been the dominant force on this issue over 30 years. we are willing -- what we are going to do is we are going to support people running for office and going to pose others that are unwilling to do something on this issue. we are going to spend money in these races.
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you know, you know, we are committed to making sure that we have safer schools and safer communities and the first thing we can do is to pass a universal criminal background check. >> the nra says legal gun owners on a registry the federal government keeps track of this is an anti-government issue. this is a fear of the government over stepping its bounds. for a lot of people it goes beyaunds guns. >> that is a point they are trying to make. there is no gun registry. i'm not proposing a gun registry. what we are proposing happens, i just bought a gun in october and i went through a very simple five--minute background check. i'm sure some time mr. lapierre went through a background check before buying a gun too. shouldn't the criminals and mentally ill be subject to a background check? shouldn't they? i mean it is -- it's hard for me to understand why there's an organization, like the nra that is currently making easier for criminals and the mentally ill
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to have access to a firearm. that doesn't make any sense. >> "vogue" magazine has a piece on you and gabby and a poignant picture of that part of that piece if we can put it on the air is she up to this to be the face of gun control measures? how is she able to function, just in life, to say nothing of the rigors this? >> she struggles every day suffered a horrific injury two years ago. she has a lot of energy, maybe not as much as before. she is in a good mood. she is committed to doing anything. like me gabby sees that we can't go with the status quo when we have 20 first graders die in their classrooms. she is up to doing this. we realize that this isn't going to -- i mean, there are some things we can do immediately, like passing the universal background check, other things might take a little bit longer, she is committed to doing this. >> i told you i couldn't have you here without asking you
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about the big news this week, the images over russia with this meteor, all the energy released and the 1,000 people injured. as people look at this image of this streaking across the sky and the asteroid that came 17,000 miles of the united states or rather earth, this is scary stuff. but you have seen it before. >> well, it's a big rock, obviously, i think that was the size of a school bus. so, that's pretty big object. fortunately, it didn't land in the middle of a town in russia, a lot of people injured. there is a risk out there the universe is a very crowded place. we have stuff entering the atmosphere all the time. interesting when you are on the space station, look ac the shooting star, meteorites, entering the atmosphere, you see those beneath you, a little bit disconcerting, they are all flying by you. >> mark kelly, thank you for being here. keep track of what you are up to >> thank you. >> we will take another break here around be back in just a moment. hinking ] i wonder what r questionable choices i've made? [ club scene music ]
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